January 22, 2021 Subject:
Soft-porn horror story
‘Schizoid apathy’ concluded an American military psychologist, after interviewing Rudolph Hoess (pronounced, ironically, as ‘hearse’), shortly due to be hanged for his crimes as commandant of Auschwitz and notorious exterminator of Jewish prisoners. A mind simply blank to the horrors going on around him, year after year.
People noticed how few of the top Nazis had ever travelled beyond Germany. Hoess took this to the extreme. Whole years of his life had been spent sitting alone in a prison cell, acclimatising to solitary days, almost happy to be protected from other prisoners and what they might do to him. That is why the jail life came to seem like the norm, and everything outside it baffling and alien.
After World War I, he had joined one of the tiny ‘freikorps’, similar to Hitler’s DAP, below the radar as we would say now, free to live by their own rules, many of them traced back to quite savage medieval rituals. Arrested for his part in a murder, he got a ten-year sentence, reduced to six, before meeting Himmler and becoming a keen disciple.
His chronicles of prison life, both as an inmate and as a commandant, might be described as soft porn; he pulls no punches about either beatings or sexual humiliation, and the revelations about daily life in a women’s block (especially near the end, when they were scraping the barrel for women warders) are certainly an eye-opener to me.
And so, he ends his days, once again sitting alone in a cell, attending to his memoirs in a businesslike way, as he calmly awaits the rope. As for their accuracy, we notice the frequent footnotes, with comments and corrections. But they sound horribly convincing, all the same.